Feeling Blessed at Monks Addiction: What the Ale!

Monks Addiction flight. Photo by Robert Flores

After Cheese Addiction opened in Long Beach in 2013, it quickly grew, opening two more locations, including one in Huntington Beach. In addition to carrying 150 to 175 different artisan cheeses, owners Lisa and John Albanese offer monthly classes, tastings and advice on wine pairings. Earlier this year, the Albaneses changed the Bella Terra store to Monks Addiction, adding craft beer, wine, grilled-cheese sandwiches, and bangers that are custom-made to the specifications of the Brit-born John.

One night when I visited, I walked into a wine and cheese tasting led by John and Jose Rosales of Seal Beach Winery. The place was packed with cheesemongers! I ordered the Alpine Heaven: chicken sausage on a roll stuffed with Gruyère cheese, caramelized onions and spicy mustard. It was delicious!

Most days, you’ll find co-owner Ruben Salazar behind Monks Addiction’s bar lending his expert guidance. The craft-beer selection is pretty awesome, with 14 beers on tap that run the gamut from IPAs to stouts to saisons. Since the offerings are brewed by different breweries, I ordered a couple of flights—and I was not disappointed.

John knows his craft-beer history! You’ll find premium British malts such as Maris Otter used in a few of the beers, including the Abbey (10.5 percent ABV), an outstanding English-style double IPA. It isn’t West Coast hoppy, but you still get the right amount of bitterness, and the malt gives you body that you don’t taste in most IPAs.

Thy Shepherd (5.7 percent ABV) is a red ale that uses both Maris Otter and Victory malts. Enjoy the brew’s rich toffee and caramel notes, as well as the toastiness from the roasted barley. Shelby Big Block (7.5 percent ABV) is a West Coast-style IPA that hits the spot with plenty of hops and a smooth finish with notes of tropical fruit.

Monks Addiction also stocks bottles of La Trappe and Old Speckled Hen, among others. And the shop offers plenty of wine, interesting crackers, olives and jams to keep you coming back for more. I think I’m addicted!

Monks Addiction, 7631 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 372-7706; monksaddiction.com.

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